We administered the Coping Strategies Questionnaire (CSQ) to 80 patients with fibromyalgia (FM) to determine the relationship between coping strategies and functional disability. A principal components factor analysis revealed two dimensions of patients' CSQ responses: Coping Attempts and Catastrophizing. Coping Attempts consists of five scales: Reinterpreting Pain, Ignoring Pain Sensations, Diverting Attention, Coping Self-Statements and Increasing Activity Level. Catastrophizing is comprised solely of the CSQ Catastrophizing scale. Both coping strategy dimensions were significantly related to patients' disability scores on the Sickness Impact Profile even after controlling for demographic and clinical variables as well as neuroticism. Coping Attempts was associated with higher levels of Physical (P < 0.05) and Total Disability (P < 0.01), and lower levels of Psychosocial Disability (P < 0.05). Catastrophizing was associated with higher levels of Total Disability (P < 0.01). These relationships suggest that investigators should attempt to identify Coping Attempts strategies that best reduce patients' psychological distress in the laboratory. It then may be possible to teach patients to use these strategies to reduce distress in their home and work environments.